Herman Mitchell and Mitchell Scale Models

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Herman Mitchell is one of the unsung heroes in the history of Maine On2 modeling as he was a highly skilled pattern maker who produced the master patterns for castings which were sold or used by Scale Railway Equipment Company, Bob Werner and his businesses of The Hobby Barn and Portland Products, LeeTown Model Services and numerous others. Herman also sold some of his castings under his own Mitchell Scale Models label, such as the SRRR 5 rung boxcar ladder shown above.

In June 2010, Herman’s passing was announced by his friend Pete Mesheau with the following words;-

My good friend Herman (Mitch) Mitchell passed away at his home near Farmington Maine, May 4th. He was 91. Mitch formed Mitchell Scale Models back in the early sixties and built models and components for a number of US firms.

 

He was born in Germany, but left at the age of 18, emigrating to Long Island in 1937.  He trained as a professional pattern maker and machinist.

 

After a chance trip to Phillips, Maine in the mid fifties, he moved his family there from NYC, as it reminded him of the countryside he grew up in.

 

Over the years he did numerous patterns and offered castings in 1/4″ and 1/2″. Many of his two foot patterns were used by Portland Products and Scale Railway Equipment back in the 70’s and 80’s. His craftsmanship and attention to detail was first rate.

 

He was a true pioneer in Maine two foot modelling.

 

Peter Mesheau

 

Earlier in March 2007 Wes Ewell wrote;-  Mitch Mitchell is an extremely capable retired machinist who produced most of Bob Werner’s masters. Bob Schlechter and I met him at a WW&F picnic eight or nine years ago, but I haven’t seen or heard about him since.

In 2016 Pete Mesheau wrote;- Mitch offered a few 1/4″ parts that he did up himself but for the most part, his On2 work was for Portland and SRE. His parts were cast at a small Rhode Island foundry.

The 40 odd 1/2″ scale two foot patterns (pictured below) are still with me, along with a number of 1/2″ parts.

Mitch did many On3 patterns as well, and a number for 1/4″ and 1/2″ scale street cars.

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An overview of the Herman Mitchell 1/2″ scale patterns held by Pete Mesheau.

 

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A close up of Herman’s pattern for a 1/2″ scale Maine freight truck sideframe, with a rail car wheel in the background.

 

 

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A range of Herman’s 1/4″ scale patterns with a swing motion freight truck sideframe in the hand.

 

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Examples of Herman’s 1/4″ scale parts in brass and whitemetal. The truck sideframes across the bottom are from the SRECo range.

 

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Some more of Herman’s 1/4″ scale parts in brass.

 

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Bob Werner included Herman’s range of 1/2″ scale parts in his Hobby Barn Catalogue.

The editors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Pete Mesheau in preparing and checking this topic.

 

 

 

Robert Sloan, Decals and Etchings, 1973 – 1985.

Robert Sloan was a Professor of Geology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who became interested in narrow gauge railways and modelling them in the early 1970’s. He became a well known author on early Colorado three foot lines, and  produced decal sheets for these lines. He also produced etched overlays in thin brass (0.010″ is mentioned in the review below) for loco conversions which included some of the Maine Two Footers.

Initially advertising as Sloan Decals, in later adverts he traded as Robert Sloan. He sold the business in 1984/85 to Narrow Gauge Stuff of Hopkins, Minnesota. Just over a year after they announced the acquisition in the May 1985 edition of the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine, Narrow Gauge Stuff stopped advertising in the Gazette.

Click on each picture to view a larger copy.

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This review appeared in the November 1977 edition of the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine under the New in Review banner.

 

The catalog, whose pages are shown below, was obtained in 1978 (the second edition), and the text afterwards comes from Robert Sloan’s auto-biography published on his University website.

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Extracts related to modeling taken from Robert Sloan’s auto-biography, written in 1995-1996;-

In the winter of 1972, I had run across a photograph of a pair of very fancily lettered refrigerator cars in a book, and desperately wanted to build those cars. But I didn’t want to hand letter them with a 0000 brush or a crow quill pen under a microscope. So I spent many hours deciphering the letters on the photo, Sal even got into the act as we would think of what the letters might be at night in bed, then get the book with the photo and check likely candidates out. (Between us we called it “Retches Barley” since that was one of the words we thought we figured out late at night.) After there were few more changes, I drew the lettering on a car side drawn to scale at ½” to the foot, sent the artwork to the only decal manufacturer I knew of, the Meyercord Company, that had made the prewar model airplane decals I had used. I set it up so that on each sheet there would be a full set of O scale decals, ½ set of S scale, 7½ sets of HO scale and tucked away in otherwise waste space 2 sets of N scale (That, so far as I knew, no one was doing). 800 sheets of decals cost $300 to make, so I took a gamble thinking there might be enough modelers out there to buy them, drew up a set of plans and a set of instructions and sold them as a set. I announced them in Slim Gauge News, in Spring 1973, a modeling and historical Narrow Gauge railroading magazine, where I had started writing articles. My gamble paid off, in the first 30 days all of my investment was returned, when I sold the decal business in 1984, I still had half of the original decals left. This lead to the Sloan Decal Business, which made enough money to cover the costs of my railroading and my professional research. The business went from lettering to specialty brass etchings when I took over the Beaver Creek Line of etched cabs and tender wraps, I wound up making brass etchings to convert existing inexpensive models to Narrow Gauge locomotives in the next larger size, N to HO narrow gauge, HO to S narrow gauge, and Z to N narrow gauge. I added a few white metal castings into the line as well, again for conversions. This made it possible for many to model narrow gauge cheaply. Over the years I wrote some 65 articles for various magazines, organizing them into several books. My model railroad and historical railroad bibliography is almost as large as my professional bibliography, although the papers did not take as long to write.

I kept the business until 1984, when it became too time consuming, then sold it, the items are still mostly in production. In the process I made many models including about 20 narrow gauge locomotives and many cars in several different scales, all of them one of a kind. I gave most of them away to friends. I modeled and built locomotives and cars in the following gauges and scales. On3, On2½, Sn3½, Sn3, HO, HOn3, HOn2½, OOn 2’3”, N and Nn3. I never did develop a complete layout, construction and history was more important to me than operation.

Click here to view the full autobiography (150+ pages….!) on another browser page.

 

The extract from the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine appears by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

 

 

LeeTown Model Service, Inc., an early supplier, circa 1969 – 1974.

LeeTown Model Service, Inc. was the trading name adopted by the partnership of Lee Snover and Darryl Townsend for their professional modeling activities. As a trading enterprise, LeeTown specialised in Narrow Gauge Railways, Geared Locomotives and high quality (Micro-motor) transmissions. From the 1970’s onwards, they were well known for their On3 Climax locomotive parts and kits, but they also played a significant role in the commercial development of Maine On2 modelling.

LeeTown have always traded from a Belvidere NJ address, the hometown of Lee Snover. Darryl Townsend moved away from this area, and produced some models under the Town Models banner in Illinois. Click here to view the Town Models topic.

Wes Ewell, a noted Maine Two Foot fan, shared a couple of reminiscences of LeeTown in the early days (circa 1965 – 1970) of Maine On2 modelling on the Yahoo! group;-

Darryl Townsend, Lee Snover, Charlie Brommer, John Derr, and I were all charter members of the Mid-Atlantic Narrow Gauge Group that Don Brown brought together nearly 50 years ago. We would gather at Don’s house in Summit (NJ) every month to share ideas and interests. We quickly became a production group, though, working together to produce drawings, kits, parts, and finished models. Darryl was teaching obstetrics at Temple University in Philadelphia, but later moved to Chicago. Lee and Charlie continued on their own. John and I collaborated on drawings for 20 years.  Those were very active years for the two-foot community. 

-Wes Ewell- 5 Aug 2015

 

Forty years ago I did a bunch of catalog and ad drawings for Lee Snover in exchange for models and parts. One of those was one of the first brass Forneys and his etched tank for #22. This was a most unusual piece in that it was etched in the round, not rolled from a flat etching. I think Terry Smith bought mine when I switched to Sn2. If you can find one today it is worth every dear penny you might have to pay for it. The #14 resin tanks that Jim Eagan sold were also excellent and worth the $130 that the one just sold for on eBay. –Wes – 24 November 2010

 

Terry Smith wrote;- I did acquire Wes’s model of tank #22 via Bob Werner of the Hobbybarn, see below.

Editors’ note; the heyday of LeeTown’s activities in Maine On2 (circa 1970 -75 or so) predates my own exposure and interest. LeeTown also had their own approach to advertising by using a mixture of formal display adverts in the Narrow Gauge modeling magazines, which sometimes included future plans with invitations to write in for more info, or statements such as more info in new catalog and the occasional “snippets” and pictures of new parts released to columnists and reviewers which were used in Editorials, mixed in with occasional use of classified adverts.

Looking through the old issues of the Narrow Gauge modeling magazines these days, it is not that obvious whether some of the parts mentioned were made by LeeTown themselves or whether they were acting as retailers, and whether the items actually ever appeared (see the update below for further information).

With these factors in mind here’s a brief overview of the significant points of LeeTown’s Maine On2 activities (subject to confirmation and change);-

November 1969 Finelines: advert suggesting that a batch of 25 SR&RL #6 models was in process for delivery in late 1970, $50 deposit to reserve.

September 1971 Finelines: editorial and advert about the new process B&SR/B&H Tank Cars.

January 1972 Finelines: editorial about the SR&RL #6 and Forney superstructure etches.

March 1973 Slim Gauge News: editorial showing On2 swing motion trucks (as used under the B&H tank cars) complete with brake beams and Grandt Line wheelsets. These could be parts supplied by SRECo.

March 1974 Finelines: advert offering SR&RL Railcar#5 plus future plans for a batch of B&SR loco #7 for release in late 1975 or 1976.

September 1974 Finelines: LeeTown featured as a parts supplier in a Hobbybarn advert announcing the CB SR&RL #6 and offering an alternative set of parts for the home constructor.

Update 05-12-2016: Layton (Lee) Snover has been in touch, initially to renew his acquaintance with Wes Ewell, and has provided the following information;-

In regard to the locomotive models mentioned in the adverts (the SR&RL #6 from November 1969 and the B&SR #7 from March 1974) and whether these were ever built, Lee replied “NJ Custom Brass (Nick and Jack) got in contact and announced that they would import the models. Also the SR&RL Railbus #5.”

 

Lee continued “On3 proved to be a larger market, so I did the Climax models and lost my shirt!  By 1977 I had stopped the On3 even and in ’78 went into making HO Scale cars and trucks. I sold that line to Portman Hobby Dist. in 1986.”

 

“In 1992, I started up again making On3/O ga. “Critters” (small industrial locos), even a few in On2!. About 2003 I stopped making Industrial locos and switched to re-powering older brass Shays, by Sunset and Iron Horse. I still do, and also make custom rebuilds of those into other prototypes for the loggers.”

 

“Darryl Townsend made the brass tanks, etchings, so I have no idea of quantity. Darryl passed away in 2015.”

 

“One other notable job from the Mid 70’s was that LeeTown made a Mt. Gretna RR 2′ gauge 4-4-0 for a fella who worked for the Lebanon Pa. newspaper, in 1/2″ Scale. The model was featured in Model Railroader Magazine in color.  It was supposed to go  to a Museum, but ended up in his living room wall, in a glass walled cut-out, so he could see both sides.”

 

SR&RL #6 in On2 RTR?

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This is the advert from the November 1969 edition of Finelines magazine which introduced the SR&RL #6 model.

LeeTown Model Service Bridgton Tanks

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LeeTown Model Service announced their Bridgton Tank models (note completed tanks only) with this advert in the September 1971 edition of Finelines magazine. Component parts had been advertised during the preceding year as they became available.

Note that the phrase “a new process etched tank” in the above advert is believed to refer to the basic tank body being a brass tube that was etched in the round. It is also believed that LeeTown used the same sized brass tube for both the smaller #22 tank and the larger #14 tank, resulting in the #14 tank appearing undersized.

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This model of B&SR/B&HR tank #22 was acquired second-hand from Wes Ewell via Bob Werner of The Hobby Barn. Wes has stated that he received this model as part payment for drawings and catalog illustrations that he did for Lee Snover of LeeTown around 1970. Given that date, the flat car that the tank is mounted on would have been scratch built.

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This model of B&SR/B&HR tank #21/#14 consists of a Leetown etched “in the round” brass tube tank, (obtained as raw etched brass tube from Bob Werner of the Hobbybarn) which was expanded to the correct diameter and finished off with Portland Products tank ends, dome, safety valve, necklace, ladder and handrail supports. It was mounted on a flat car built from an SRCS 30 foot B&SR flatcar kit with a scratch built cradle and straps.

SR&RL Railbus #5 in kitform + RTR & future B&SR loco #7?

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This is a cut-down copy of the advert from the March 1974 edition of Finelines magazine which offered SR&RL Railbus #5 in kit form and RTR and which also announced future plans for a batch of B&SR loco #7 for release in late 1975 or 1976.

SR&RL #6: set of parts

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This Hobby Barn advert from the September 1974 Fineline magazine lists LeeTown as a supplier “………..for those who wish the challenge of constructing the engines themselves…….”. People who knew Bob Werner would not find it hard to imagine the smile on his face as he wrote those words.

In the context of this blog and this post, Narrow Gauge modeling magazines refers collectively to Finelines, Slim Gauge News and the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette. These are now available on DVD from Bob Hayden. Click here for more information.

All adverts from Finelines and the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazines appear by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

Update 24-09-2019: Layton H. (Lee) Snover passed away 21 June 2018, aged 81. Click here to read more about Lee and his life.

 

 

 

Scale Railway Equipment Company – an early supplier from the 1960’s

The Scale Railway Equipment Company was started by Jim Eagan sometime before the Editorial below appeared in the September 1967 edition of Finelines magazine under the heading “What’s New?”.

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SRE has always had a reputation for quality parts for the Maine On2 modeller. SRE parts and kits appear regularly on the current second-hand and internet auction sites, where, if correctly identified, they are sought after.

Looking backwards from our current viewpoint, the advertisements in the Narrow Gauge modelling press suggest that the SRE business wandered in directions away from the initial focus on Maine Two Foot.

SRE is mentioned as a component supplier for the first runs of the Custom Brass SR&RL coaches and cabooses, the Town Models SR&RL boxcar and Chris Cardinal’s Laconia coaches.

Click on each image for a larger view.

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This full page advert from the May 1968 edition of Finelines magazine shows the SRE products then available.

 

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This Editorial appeared in the March 1971 edition of Finelines magazine under the What’s New? banner, and announced the arrival of the sprung lost wax brass trucks.

 

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This advert from the January 1972 edition of Finelines magazine gave a status report for the large Bridgton tank car, as well presenting an increasing range of parts.

 

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SRE advert from the November 1972 edition of Finelines magazine showing the variations available for the large tank (car).

 

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SRE advert from the January 1976 edition of Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette showing the kits available for 1976 which ran throughout 1976.

 

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SRE placed this advert in the March/April 1978 edition of the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine announcing the arrival of the lower cost white metal trucks.

 

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SRE ran this advert in the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine from January/February 1981 until September/October 1982, after which they appear to have taken a break from advertising in the Gazette, and then resumed on a spasmodic basis with other products (ie not Maine On2). Note that our review period currently finishes at the end of 1986, and that the focus here is on the Maine On2 items.

 

The SRE catalog: this catalog was obtained sometime in the early 1980’s, and carries a listing of UK sourced 7mm scale figures.

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Monson Flat Car

The first advertisement for this car kit appeared in the November 1971 edition of Finelines magazine.

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SRE Bridgton & Harrison Tank Car #14 

This model was first announced at the end of 1971 and was available from the end of 1972 onwards.

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SRE advert from the November 1972 edition of Finelines magazine showing the variations available for the large tank (car).

The tank was an epoxy resin casting produced by Bill Clouser using his “Custom Cast” process, and included the dome, with a separate casting for the cradle. Details such as the filler cap, relief valve, handrail supports, ladder were investment cast brass. Handrails, bridle and grab irons were brass wire. As shown in the advert above, the tank was available separately or with a cast 30 foot flat car body. The model was introduced at the end of 1972 and was reviewed in Railroad Model Craftsman, June 1974 edition with corrected photographs in the July 1974 edition.

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Parts of the tank only kit, taken from the instruction sheet illustration.

 

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Notice the Bill Clouser Custom Cast logo and labelling. These two pictures show the 30 foot flat car model to carry the tank car body.

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For further pictures of the SRE Bridgton Tank car model click here to open another page in your browser.

 

SR&RL Phillips Water Plug

This kit appears to have been announced in the November/December 1977 edition of the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazine. It was reviewed in the January/February 1981 edition with the comment “…back on the market…”.

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All adverts from Finelines and the Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Gazette magazines appear by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

 

Narrow Gauge Specialties, an early supplier, 1971 – 1974?

A part built B&SR # 7 featuring Narrow Gauge Specialties parts.

Chuck Collins, founder and owner of Narrow Gauge Specialties, made some interesting postings to the MaineOn2 Yahoo! group about the early days of On2 which have been edited as this introduction;-

My brother Ric and I first started modelling the Maine two footers in 1961 after reading Allan Hanson’s article “The Sandy River Goes HOn2” in the April 1961 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. We began modelling in HOn2. In 1970 we switched to On2 so we could get more detail in our models.

 

In 1971 I started Narrow Gauge Specialties to develop modelling products in On2 scale. I released limited runs of kits, brass castings and photo etching sets of various two foot gauge prototypes. At that time there were no commercially available On2 locomotives so I set out to produce parts for B&SR #7/SR&RL #10. I released the etching set for B&SR #7 in August 1971. After that various castings and freight car kits were released.

 

Although the B&SR #7/SR&RL #10 project was never completed, I have to acknowledge and thank Bill C. Brown for getting me started with it. He was an excellent On2 modeller and had produced patterns for the main frames, firebox brace/frame spacer, pilot beam and apron and other items for SR&RL #10 which I incorporated into my line of parts.

 

All NGS items were manufactured by me and I still have the master patterns. I cut the wood and did the master patterns for the brass castings. The actual casting was done by Kemtron. The plastic parts were from Grandtline. Ric did sell some On2 etching sets under his own name.

 

Those were exciting times when On2 modelling was just starting to happen.

 

Chuck Collins

 

Ric did sell some On2 etching sets under his own name. Click here to view Ric’s Etchings on another page.

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Here is the first advert that we can find, from the May 1971 edition of Finelines magazine. Notice the wealth of lines carried.

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This advert comes from the July 1971 edition of Finelines magazine.

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This advert comes from the September 1971 edition of Finelines magazine.

 

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This editorial review of the Narrow Gauge Specialties products and offering comes from the November 1971 edition of Finelines magazine. Looks like Bob Brown was impressed by the quality of the merchandise.

 

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This advert comes from the January 1972 edition of Finelines magazine, and highlights the focus on On2. Notice the limited offer at the bottom, which suggests that NGS may have built a batch of RTR loco’s.

 

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This editorial review of some of the Narrow Gauge Specialties B&SR #7 loco castings comes from the May 1974 edition of Finelines magazine. It looks like NGS took a break from advertising, relocated and brought out some more parts.

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This advert appears in both the May 1974 and July 1974 editions of Finelines magazine. We can find no further adverts from NGS – did they continue in business without advertising in Finelines or the Gazette?

All adverts from Finelines appear by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

Occasionally NGS parts are offered for sale on on-line auctions sites, here are some of the cast parts for the B&SR #7;-

 

Another auction offered a part built body for the B&SR #7

The set of Pilling Drivers with bearings and gearbox for the B&SR #7 were listed in a seperate auction at the same time.

 

Tail piece, March 2020: Chuck is still an active modeler, although he now prefers larger scale live steam in the garden, following South African (and other) Two Foot gauge prototypes with his Avontuur Light Railway shown here in this YouTube video;- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VnUZs4n_r0

Here is a recent posting from his Facebook account which includes his scratchbuilt On2 SR&RL #6 built in 1972.

Ric’s Etchings – an early supplier, 1972-1982

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Ric’s Etchings was the name chosen by Ric (Richard) Collins to offer his On2 locomotive superstructure etches (and other parts) for sale to modellers. The locomotive superstructure etches were very good quality on .020” (nominal) thick brass sheet, and required the modeller to cut the parts from the solid sheet, and are still sought after by modeller’s today.

Ric was (and still is) an exceptional model builder, scratch-building a number of iconic On2 model locomotives some of which were featured in the early editions of Finelines and the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette magazines.

Ric was located on the West Coast of the USA, and he ran Ric’s Etchings from 1972 until 1982 from a number of different locations in California and Oregon. Ric sold the Etchings operation to Sandy River Car Shops in the Summer of 1982.

 

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This editorial from the September 1972 edition of Finelines magazine gives Bob Brown’s opinion of the range and quality of Ric’s etches.

 

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This editorial from the May 1974 edition of Finelines magazine gives advance notice of the Old Star etch.

 

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This general advert was published in the June 1974 edition of Finelines magazine gives an idea of the range of etches available.

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This advert was also published in the June 1974 edition of Finelines magazine to promote the new “Old Star” etch, and also offers a set of wheels, and other items.

 

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This picture shows an etch for the B&SR locomotive #5.

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A picture caption in the May 1977 NG&SL Gazette, showing Ric’s own model of SR&RL #23, also announced that Ric’s etches were available from the Precision Scale Company. Shown above is the catalog entry for the etch.

All adverts from Finelines and the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette appear by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

 

Slim Gauge Productions – an early kit manufacturer, 1970-1978

Slim Gauge Productions was a kit manufacturer active in the 1970’s whose existence is occasionally flagged up when one of their kits comes up for sale on eBay or similar re-cycler.

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The first appearance of Slim Gauge Productions was in May 1970 with its advert in the Finelines Magazine of the same month (above) and it continued in business until the Fall of 1978.

The enterprise was started by Ron Hildebrand, a professional photographer from Moraga, California, using contractors such as his friend Russ Simpson to cut scale wood to exact prototypical dimensions and Grandt Line to supply injection moulded hardware.

The initial offering was an On2 Wiscasset flatcar, which featured whitemetal bolsters cast by Gordon Cannon in Cerro-Bend using a Bill Coffey Mix-Master spin caster that was featured in a very early Finelines magazine (September 1966). Additional On2 items offered included a 26 foot Bridgton boxcar #45-51 (January 1971), SR&RL Caboose #556 and SR&RL Stockcar #490 (both March 1977). Various On3 items were also produced.

It appears that Russ Simpson acquired the enterprise in 1975 as from September 1975 he advertised the former SGP kits in his own adverts, and introduced the SR&RL Caboose #556 and SR&RL Stockcar #490 kits in March 1977, and there were changes to the packaging and instructions of the kits.

Shortly after this topic was first publishedFrank Pearsall posted the following message to the then Yahoo, now io group:-

Slim Gauge Productions was Ron Hildebrand. And yes, he was good friends with Russ Simpson so he had a lot of work done by Russ. Ron later had “The Structure Company” in the 1980s. Produced some really neat buildings. He was a first-rate photographer and also had that kind of business.

 

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This advert from Finelines of July 1970 announces a last run of WW&FR flatcar and shows the new Grandt Line On2 wheelsets.

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This advert from Finelines of November 1970 introduces the 26 foot Bridgton boxcar kit and indicates that the run will be limited to 100 pieces.

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This very fancy advert from Finelines of January 1971 announces that the 26 foot Bridgton boxcar kit will be available shortly and that the run will now be limited to just 50 pieces.

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This advert from Finelines of July 1971 gives some information about SGP and how it operated.

sgpad06aThis advert from the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette of September 1975 by Simpson lists the former SGP kits.

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This advert from the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette of March 1977 by Simpson introduces the SR&RL Caboose #556 and SR&RL Stockcar #490 kits.

With this paragraph taken from his regular column, The Narrow Gauge Scene in the September/October edition of the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette, Charlie Getz announced the end of Slim Gauge Productions in 1978. Russ Simpson appears to have stopped advertising in the Gazette from this date.

 

Slim Gauge Productions – the kits.

The original Ron Hildebrand style cardboard box packaging.

The original Ron Hildebrand style kit contents. The SGP kits were typical of many 1970’s era craftsman style wooden kits, containing a collection of stripwood plus details from injection moulded plastic, lost wax brass and brass wire.

The original Ron Hildebrand style kit instructions. Notable are the mentions of other suppliers as sources of parts to complete the kit in the penultimate paragraph, such as trucks and couplers from John MacNeill, alternative trucks from Scale Railroad Equipment, wheels from Grandt Line. Other suppliers mentioned include Leetown Model Service, Tomalco, John Derr and Coronado Scale Models.

Close up of the kit contents. Note this particular kit contains the parts for two flatcars.

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An example of the later Russ Simpson style packaging for an individual kit of the Wiscasset #118 Flatcar.

An example of the Russ Simpson style instruction sheet, in which he acknowledges the original SGP owner, Ron Hildebrand, and the various other modellers who helped Ron to develop the kit, including Bob Brown, Gordon Cannon, John Derr, Bob Schlechter and Russ Simpson.

The Russ Simpson instructions list a number of suppliers of suitable trucks and wheels.

A close up of the box on the Russ Simpson instructions where he generously lists other manufacturers and suppliers of On2 kits and parts, as well as giving Finelines magazine a good plug.

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An example of a Russ Simpson “all in one bag style” kit.

All adverts from Finelines and the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette appear by kind permission of Bob Brown, Editor and Co-owner.

 

Custom Brass – SR&RL Boxcar #67 kit, circa 1975.

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Custom Brass announced their wooden craftsman style boxcar kit with their advertisement in the September/October 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette.

 

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The Custom Brass SR&RL #67 Boxcar kit was typical of what was called “a craftsman style kit”, meaning that compared to today’s (2016) kits, significant cutting, trimming and use of tools to fit details was expected.

The picture above shows the construction style well. The wooden pieces in the upper right are a milled floor (with integral side, intermediate and centre sills), the shaped sub-roof piece and two end blocks. These formed the basic body to which scribed side and end sheathing was applied, followed by plain sheeting for the roof and then strip-wood for fascia’s, ladders and roof walks.

The Custom Brass kit features a bag of black plastic details for the airbrake cylinders, other brake gear and NBW’s, and a bag of brass details for the stirrup steps, queen posts and brake wheel.

Trevor Marshall’s second S&PCRR boxcar, built from the NJ/CB kit

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In June 2007 Trevor Marshall posted the following message to the On2 Yahoo! group;-

S&PCRR doubles its boxcar fleet

Hi List:

Yes, it’s true. Until today, my On2 railroad had ONE boxcar – a Sandy River Car Shops kit built by a friend and acquired when he sold off his On2 equipment. I’ve just been too busy building flat cars for the slate quarry.

However, I decided to do something different – one can only build so many flat cars in a row, after all – so a while ago I started work on an NJ International wooden kit (acquired from another friend who was selling off his On2 equipment… hmm: I see a pattern!). The kit was for SR&RL boxcars 67-76, which were 28-foot cars. I modeled it as Somerset & Piscataquis Counties #68.

This was an interesting experience.

The kit included all the basics, but was missing information like how to route brake rods and pipes, and many details like the dozens of NBWs used on grab irons, etc. Plus, of course, a tin roof made of individual panels of thick embossing tin.

I’ve posted a few photos in the TPM-Projects folder in the photos section of the web site. Editors’ note the pictures are shown below.

It’s “finished”, although I’m waiting for some air hoses to add to the ends. The S&PCRR now has TWO boxcars!

Happy modeling…
– Trevor

tpmcbbox02

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tpmcbbox03

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tpmcbbox04

Originally posted 19-08-2016, updated 20-08-2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madruga Models, 1980.

Madruga Models had a brief existence in 1980 only.

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In October 2008, Trevor Marshall wrote;-

I recently acquired two craftsman kits for Sandy River flangers, offered by a company called Madruga Model Works. The photos of the finished models that accompany the kits are stamped on the back as being printed in February and June 1980.

Editor:These are shown above.

Here’s some more detail: Madruga Model Works was owned by Bernie Lewis and the address on the box is a PO box in Miltipas CA.

The 503 comes with two sheets of plans – one by RH Werner, the other by JE Robinson, based on measurements taken in 1968 by RW Brown and additional data from E Bond. It looks like Bernie Lewis did 55 kits for 503.

The 505 includes one sheet of plans by RH Werner, and 50 kits were produced.

The kits each consist of a Grandt Line details, plus white metal castings for journals and the flanger blades that MIGHT be Portland products, or might be MMW’s own castings (does anybody know?), plus strip and sheet wood in little baggies.

Does anybody know more about Madruga Model Works, or any of the gents mentioned? I thought it might be a good topic for discussion and possibly help record the story of Maine two-foot modeling in O scale. – Trevor

PS: Bernie sounds like quite the guy. His first page of instructions reads, in part: “I realize that most On2 modelers are accomplished scratchbuilders; however, instructions are included to demonstrate my method of construction. If all else fails, you might want to give these methods a try.”

Obviously, a wit!

and Bob Schlechter replied to Trevor;-

Very interesting that you came across both Madruga kits by Bernie.

Those were the only two kits that Bernie produced. Very nice kits even going back 28 years ago. Further kit production ceased due to a divorce! Bernie is a good friend from the past when we both lived in and around the San Francisco bay area and he now resides in Vermont. He, to the best of my knowledge, quit model railroading and does bird/duck carving. Has a Ph.D. in mathematics and has a very good sense of humor.

Bernie and I did On2 modules depicting the Kennebec Central RR. I did Randolph and he did Togus. They were displayed at a NMRA show in San Mateo, California many years ago. I still have my diorama as I tend not to throw things away! Just ask my wife.

R.H. Werner, Bob of Hobby Barn fame also a friend from the past who now resides in Arizona. Would love to see his Portland Products line reissued.

J.E Robinson, John is also a friend and resides between Colorado and a ranch in Texas, He still does model railroading but enjoys his full size two foot RR on his Texas ranch. Talked with him at the 2008 NNGC.

R.W. Brown , Bob, is the founder, owner and editor of the Gazette magazine. Bob and I have been friends for the last forty plus years. He is still very active in model railroading in Los Altos, California. Also talked with him at the 2008 NNGC.

Bond, Ed, also a friend for some time is credited with many of the prototype two foot photos that we all use and enjoy. He was collecting prototype railroad photos since he was a teenager. He is active in 7 1/2″ gauge live steam in Georgia. Had a pleasant visit with him a few months ago.

I’ve known all of the Grandt family for the past 45 years. Dave still runs the business and Robb publishes a line of books pertaining to Colorado railroads. Met with both at the 2008 NNGC.

Does the above suffice or is more needed?

Regards

Bob in Sequim

 

Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette Info about Madruga Models;-

Jan/Feb 1980, page 17 SR&RL flanger #505

May/Jun 1980 page 75 small advert SR&RL flanger #503

Jul/Aug 1980 page 20 News in Review SR&RL flangers

Sep/Oct 1980 page 17 News in Review Sound Cams and SR&RL flanger